By Svi Ben-Elya

It is common in Israel for employees to sign an Non-Competition Agreement as part of their employment contract. Reforms in Israeli Labor Law aimed at protecting employee’s right to work appear to have rendered these agreements difficult to enforce. A recent discussion on Techshoret highlighted the need an “industry standard” for what should be included in an Non-Competition Agreement to protect the legitimate efforts of outsourcing companies without effectively preventing writers who honor the agreement from being able to work a technical writer elsewhere.

The discussion on Techshoret (Start of Thread...) raised a number of legal and ethical questions facing the writers and the outsourcing companies.

Ethical questions facing the writers include how to act when the writer believes one of the following:

  • The agreement that has little legal ground or is unlikely to stand up in court.
  • The writer is not confident that he or she will adhere to it.
  • The agreement  is outside the bounds of what is considered to be fair policy within the industry.

Over the next few weeks, I hope that writers, clients and outsourcing companies will add comments that can serve as the basis for an industry standard. There are separate comment pages for each question. Please include whether you are an in house writer, freelance writer, client, outsourcing company or other.


  1. Including a Non-Competition Agreement in employee contracts has been standard practice in the industry in Israel in recent years.
  2. Standard Non-Competition Agreement clauses typically range from 6-12 months, with some companies inserting clauses of up to 24 months. Many feel that 3 months is enough to protect the legitimate interests of outsourcing companies.
  3. Non-Competition Agreements are typically limited to those clients that the employee works with directly.
  4. Some companies are opting to remove the Non-Competition Agreement as it proves to be difficult to enforce through the Israeli legal system.
  5. There is some evidence to suggest that in buoyant markets, employees are choosing to ignore longer Non-Competition Agreement when considering alternative employment.


Should Non-Competition Agreements for technical writers be limited to:   Comment Page

  1. Clients that the employee works with directly.
  2. The field of technical writing.
  3. 3-12 month duration.
  4. Cooling off period for working with each client begins from the date the employee completes a project with the client.

When signing a contractual agreement, is it ethical to sign an agreement that:    Comment Page

  1. Has little legal ground or is unlikely to stand up in court?
  2. The writer may not be confident of adhering to in the future?
  3. Is outside the bounds of what is considered to be fair policy within the industry?

What are the consequences of the devaluing or possible removal of a Non-Competition Agreement for the Technical Writing industry:   Comment Page

  1. In protecting the interests of Outsourcing companies?
  2. In promoting trust between employee and management?
  3. Is outside the bounds of what is considered to be fair policy within the industry?

What is the inherent value and importance of:    Comment Page

  1. Acting ethically?
  2. Having ‘a good name’ and promoting ‘fair business’ in the industry?
  3. Keeping to one’s contractual obligations?

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